Athens; “BLESS” at Radio Athenes

by Venetia Kapernekas

A short visit in Athens few days ago, caught me by surprise of the amazing installation by BLESS at Radio Athenes, where its  dynamic founder Helena Papadopoulos full force completed an amazing installation on the ground floor of the space and continue ‘aggressively’ but yet so beautifully on first floor at her  living space; indeed, an installation with no limits!

The Paris and Berlin based duo BLESS (Désirée Heiss and Ines Kaag) refuse to capitalize on any one milieu, and instead explore the differences between, and the mixing of, the systems of art, fashion, and design. They glide over the conventions of production, distribution and display to create things (to wear, to use, to look at, to smile at) for now and forever. Their collections are titled to reflect a current mood that may ostensibly last for many seasons to come, questioning consumerist behavioral patterns and proposing instead a ‘Present Perfect Continuous’.

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They came  to Athens to inhabit the Radio Athènes headquarters at 15 Petraki Street and the  private apartment on the first floor of the same building.  They transformed these interior spaces into a BLESSHome and  presented their ideal and artistic values to the greek public for the first time.

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What they do is not so easily summed up. “Many of our clothes are not spectacular catwalk items, but aim to be all time favorites for everyday life,” says BLESS. The collections they create (which is classified by a number rather than a season) feature reinvented garments like the N°10 pleatskirtscarf, a combination of a pleated skirt and scarf. Their projects remain somewhat simple, inspired by the ins and outs of daily life. (somethingabloutMagazine)

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The work of BLESS has been exhibited internationally including the 1st Berlin Biennial, the Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, the Centre Pompidou, Paris, Manifesta 4, the Palais de Tokyo, Paris, the Moderna Museet, Stockholm, the Stedelijk Museum Bureau, Amsterdam, the Goethe-Institut, Tokyo, the Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam and the Istanbul Design Biennial.

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Is BLESS more successful in Berlin or Paris? Where do you more commonly see your garments worn?

Neither nor. BLESS supporters are spread all over the world. In Berlin or Paris, (there) is a concentration of friends and family. The ambitious aim in the beginning was that we wanted to feel like ‘Europeans’ are still relevant; we still don’t care if we get labeled in articles as French or German designers. With time it became more important to concentrate the energy we need for production more in a local context, but the outcome of our work is really without destination. With our perspective as a niche-designer, we appreciate that modern media spreads the information round the globe and connects us with like-minded people from far destinations.(Interview at somethingablout Magazine) 

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all photos@VK by permission
Radio Athènes institute for the advancement of contemporary visual culture is a non profit organization  in Athens. Radio Athènes was conceived and founded by Helena Papadopoulos in December 2014 with founding member Andreas Melas. The centre of operations that doubles as a bookstore is on 15 Petraki Street in Athens, Greece, zip code 10563, near Mitropoleos Square. The nearest metro stops are Syntagma and Monastiraki.
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